Printmaking and Painting

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Over the last few years I have experimented with a range of printing approaches in collaboration with the printmakers at the David Krut Workshop. The printmaking collaboration process has been productive for me, because it is one that is based in discussion, collaboration, experimentation, and an attention to detail. These experiences have lead to me becoming interested in the relationship between my paintings, and my printed works.

  

The correspondence between paintings and prints: The notion of correspondence seems to have relevance to the way my paintings and prints have evolved over the last few years. This is a process of communicating between disciplines in a way where the image making image potentials of one form opens ideas for the other. My work in painting and in printmaking has facilitated an exchange of ideas and expressive forms.

 
 

There are clear similarities between printmaking and painting. Both, for instance, are visual approaches to making. The codification of the image, therefore, can be approached in similar ways. There are, however, differences between painting and printmaking which have an influence on the images that are created through each process. In painting, for instance, it is possible to see the image take shape as paint is applied or removed, albeit working with a level of uncertainty on how that image may evolve. The way the image appears in printmaking, however, requires a few more steps, and is a bit less direct. I am particularly interested in the unpredictability and delay involved in making and revealing the printed image, in the sense that the printed image is created in the reverse, using a range of indirect mark making techniques and mechanical apparatus. In printmaking, the negative of the image is created through a primary process, and this image is then transferred onto a support through a secondary process. The primary process could be an image cut or burnt onto a substance such as a copper plate, it could be painted and drawn onto a flat sheet such as Perspex, or it could be prepared digitally. The secondary process could be pressing a paper folio against an inked up etched pate or a woodcut or Perspex sheet, or printing a file onto paper using a digital printer. Whatever form of printing employed, there is a delay in the image created through printmaking, and when it does appear, it does so almost instantly.

The nuances of each discipline provide opportunities for reinterpreting or extending the visual forms created by the other. While the prints I have made at the workshop were certainly influenced by my work as a painter, I am conscious of the influence the printmaking experience in the workshop has had on my paintings. The forms I made in printmaking opened me to possible ways my paintings could shift. I have worked towards, for instance, particularly shifts in my paintings in terms of the complication of the relationships of hard line and softer fields of colour, and in terms of relationships of opacities and translucencies.

This interest of mine in a relationship of painting and printmaking has not been so much in obscuring the boundaries of the disciplines of printmaking and painting, but in entering a type of correspondence in each. The term correspondence can mean a close similarity, connection, or equivalence, but it can also mean communication by exchanging letters and ideas. The correspondence between painting and printmaking in my praxis has been as an exchange of ideas and expressive forms, by being influenced by the one, and extending it or mutating it in the other. The printmaking process, when transmuted with those that occur in the painter’s studio, then, holds great potential for the creation of mixed-media, multidisciplinary, or interdisciplinary expressive forms. It holds great potential for the challenging and extending ideas, and expressive forms.